One of the most acclaimed young voices of his generation, Blake Butler now offers his first work of nonfiction: a deeply candid and wildly original look at the phenomenon of insomnia.
Invoking scientific data, historical anecdote, Internet obsession, and figures as diverse as Andy Warhol, Gilles Deleuze, John Cage, Anton LaVey, Jorge Luis Borges, Brian Eno, and Stephen King, Butler traces the tension between sleeping and conscious life. And he reaches deep into his own experience—from disturbing waking dreams, to his father’s struggles with dementia, to his own epic 129-hour bout of insomnia—to reveal the effect of sleeplessness on his imaginative landscape.
The result is an exhilarating exploration of dream and awareness, desperation and relief, consciousness and conscience—a fascinating maze-map of the borders between sleep and the waking world by one of today’s most talked-about writers.
“Lyrical…A weird, waking-dream of a memoir superbly illustrating the relentless inner spin of the insomniac.”
“If there’s a more thoroughly brilliant and exciting new writer than Blake Butler . . . well, there just isn’t.” —Dennis Cooper
From Blake Butler, one of the most challenging young writers of our time and the acclaimed author of the novel There Is No Year, comes a thrillingly wide-ranging and provocative book about insomnia—from its role in history, art, and science through its unexpected consequences on Butler’s personal imagination, creative process, and perspective on reality. Fans of David Foster Wallace, David Shields, and Dennis Cooper will be captivated by Blake Butler’s darkly evocative prose and his daring exploration of the challenges of consciousness.